Stronger relationships with SNFs cut down readmission rates

Hospitals with strong relationships to skilled nursing facilities have lower readmission rates than those without, likely saving a lot of money in the process, according to AHA News Now.

A study published in the journal Health Services Research concluded that hospitals that operated their own skilled nursing facilities had 17 percent of their patients readmitted within 30 days, versus 21 percent of those that do not operate their own SNFs. The study examined 2.8 million Medicare patients discharged from 2,477 hospitals to 15,063 SNFs between 2004 and 2006.

The study also concluded that if hospitals were to increase their transfers to a single SNF by 10 percent, their inpatient readmission rates would drop by 1.2 percent.

Hospital discharges within 30 days cost the Medicare program $17.4 billion a year. The Affordable Care Act  financially penalizes hospitals who readmit patients for specific ailments, and providers have been embarking on a variety of initiatives to reduce readmissions.

"As hospitals are held accountable for patients' outcomes post-discharge under the Affordable Care Act, hospitals may steer their patients preferentially to fewer SNFs," the study concluded.

To learn more:
- read the AHA News Now article
- here's the study abstract

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